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US wary of potential 'to reduce contact' with India over Delhi-Ottawa row: Report

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India (L) with US President Joe Biden (C) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (file photo by AFP)

The US ambassador to India has reportedly told his team that Washington may “need to reduce contact” with New Delhi's officials, US media reported.

Politico cited the ambassador telling his staff that Washington may “need to reduce contact” with Delhi’s officials, RT reported on Thursday.

Eric Garcetti reportedly told his staff that relations between Delhi and Washington could deteriorate “in the near term.”

The potential deterioration of diplomatic ties between Washington and Delhi is related to the continuous row between Delhi and Ottawa over the Indian government's alleged  assassination of 45-year-old Indian-Canadian Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, a suburban Vancouver neighborhood of British Columbia, in June this year.

In the latest reciprocal move related to the Delhi-Ottawa row, India ordered Canada earlier this week to remove 41 members of its 62-strong mission.

In the meantime, whether Ambassador Garcetti had warned his staff about a potential "reduced contact" with Delhi for an undefined period of time, the US embassy on Thursday dismissed the reports.

"The US embassy dismisses these reports. Ambassador Garcetti is working hard every day to deepen the partnership between the people and governments of the United States and India," a US embassy spokesperson said when asked about the report.

"As his personal engagement and public schedule demonstrates, Ambassador Garcetti and the US Mission to India are working every day to advance the important, strategic, and consequential partnership we have with India," the spokesperson added.

The White House asserted on Tuesday that Canada's allegations regarding India's involvement in the assassination of Nijjar were "serous" and needed to address.

However, India’s Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, has repeatedly given his assurances that Delhi-Washington ties remain strong. “Our relationship is at an all-time high.”

"We are going to take this relationship to a different level,” Jaishankar recently declared.

In the meantime, Washington, which has traditionally been close to Ottawa, is openly making advances for broader diplomatic and military cooperation with Delhi to somewhat balance Beijing’s growing clout in the Indo-Pacific region.

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